All along, you knew what was going to happen.
You knew the windows would stay open, holding their nerve.
You knew.
You knew the hotel would not bear the full weight of our stay.

Charlotte Rowland


As night sets itself unsteadily in front of windows meant for more,
you limit yourself to bindings of your own choice.
How I am involved is uncertain. The dark magnifies
space out of proportion, making even less of your distance.
Your body, inexactly, begins to feel like blossom.
Hands cusped, I catch you, in pieces, engaging in the motion of fall.

Charlotte Rowland

Yes, Big Sur!

You span us round and made me nauseous
I had to take a pill
Crashing waves below backdrop a crashing headache

Feeling every curve like a wandering hand on heat
Though lustrous as the mountain’s sides were
I spent the few stops stood mainly looking at my feet.

As the drowsiness wore off and the traffic wore on
Still alive enough luckily to low and behold-
I grabbed the sunlight and it took hold.

Stepped out from the car
And stood on the edge.
Of a literary hero’s wandering streak
Had a youthful twinge to kick my shoes off
See where they would land on the rocks.

Yes Big Sur’s light seemed almost holy
Though, not as holey as my socks.

Elspeth Vischer

50 London Road

I think I am a bear.
My friend says it is ok
she feels like she is a bear too.
Somewhere a radiator pipe bursts and is covered with a tupperware box.

Her eyes
like black holes skimming the edge of the universe
we lie on the bare floor
and believe that for a second we spin because we are at the centre of the world
and all the rest of its flotsam
is drifting in circles around us.

His eyes open their jaws
black as old cassette tape or leggings or bin bags.
She is at the airport waving off our friend.

One day we will suck smoke through a radiator part.
One day she will be replaced by a woman feeds eyes for money.
One day we will burn The complete works of Shakespeare in the garden.

The walls here are bare.
There is a neighbour who shouts at us.
There is fish fingers and beans and bread
and the meals her mum brings round.
We steal toilet paper and booze from the bar he works in.

My bones are damp through
and the bed has been taken as well
it stinks of the shed and the toilet at the back no-one uses.

They cut off the heating even before I came here.
and the damp has got my bone-marrow too.
Sometimes we turn all the hobs on and stand around the oven.
Sometimes we fill up the washing-up bowl with vodka
and skim the edges of the universe with beetle-black eyes.
One day I will see her walking through town with her two children.

There is no wallpaper here. There is a sofa
and one day a television will appear to absorb her.
To absorb her Ugg boots and leggings and paracetamol-round eyes.

Eleanor Beeby